We prepare section 27 cultural reports on behalf of defendants appearing for sentencing in the criminal courts.
Under section 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002 a defendant may request what is commonly referred to as a ‘cultural report’ or ‘section 27 report’.
The purpose of a cultural report is to provide the court with a greater understanding of the defendant, their family history and cultural background, and the factors that have driven their offending and can support rehabilitation. These factors can then be taken into account by the sentencing judge.
A cultural report can contribute to a discounted sentence as well as support rehabilitation.
Cultural reports are an important tool to address the overrepresentation of Māori in the criminal justice system.
Our track record
Since 2018 we have prepared over 100 cultural reports on behalf of defendants around the country. Our reports have been commended by lawyers and sentencing judges, and defendants have received sentence discounts of up to 35% as a result of factors we have raised in our reports.
Below is a sample of some of our results:
- Defendant A appeared for sentencing for charges including supply of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis for sale, receiving and misuse of a document. Defendant A was given a 35% sentence discount for factors raised in his cultural report. In total he received a 60% sentence discount inclusive of the cultural report and his early guilty plea (25%). Factoring in time served on remand and e bail Defendant A was sentenced to 4 months home detention and special conditions including an AOD assessment, counselling and tikanga Māori training. The Judge cited our report through out his summary and sentencing.
- Defendant B appeared for sentencing for possession of firearms, possession of LSD for supply, cultivating cannabis, and assault with intent to injure. Defendant B was given a 30% sentence discount on account of factors raised in the report, including neglect, abuse in care, and disconnection from whakapapa and Tikanga Māori. Defendant A was sentenced to three years.
- Defendant C appeared for sentencing for robbery and was given a 20% sentence discount on account of factors raised in the report, including an unsettled childhood, death of parent, drug abuse, and disconnection from whakapapa and Tikanga Māori. Defendant C was released with time served of nine months and issued a first strike warning.
- Defendant D appeared for sentencing for threatening to kill a police officer and assaulting a police officer with a blunt instrument. As a result of factors raised in our report, including miscarriage of justice in his arrest due to his poor physical and mental health, defendant D was released with time served of seven months.
- Defendant E appeared for sentencing for manslaugher. As a result of factors raised in our report defendant E was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. The sentencing judge complimented H2R for helpfulness of our report. Further to this we were able to negotiate for the defendant to serve her term in in a youth justice facility until she was 18. The defendant has been released on parole after serving 2 years of her sentence.
- Defendant F appeared for sentencing for possession of and intent to supply methamphetamine. As a result of factors raised in our report defendant F was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment, with leave to apply for home detention. The sentencing judge complimented H2R for the depth and range of our report.
“I have also read the s 27 report which I wish to comment is an excellent report that addresses your personal, family, community and cultural background.”
-Sentencing judge for Defendant F, February 2022